Karen Rivers

speak loudly.

Karen Rivers

I have been thinking a lot these last couple of days about a 16 year old girl in Pitt Meadows who I don't know.   See, this 16 year old girl -- and you've probably heard of her by now -- went to a rave.    I don't know what happened there.  Maybe she flirted.   Maybe she didn't.   Maybe she was dressed promiscuously.   Maybe she wasn't.  

But I do know one thing with absolute certainty:   This sixteen year old girl did NOT go to that rave hoping that she'd be gang-raped in a nearby field by seven or eight 17- and 18-year old men.   Boys.  

This SIXTEEN year old girl did NOT invite this to happen.   Because there is no way that she consented to being GANG-RAPED, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there is no way that she further consented to it being FILMED.    

And she most certainly did not say, "Hey, why don't you post the film on Facebook?"   And then she did NOT go on to say, "Not enough people have seen it, why don't you pass it on to all your friends?  Put it on YouTube?"  

And she never, ever said, "Please blame me for all of it.  It would be awesome if you made it all my fault!"

When I turn on the news, I see a 17 year old boy who is saying, on the record, that there are circumstances that "people" don't understand.   "There's more to the story," he smirks.   

I want to find this boy and shout at him.  I want to tell him again and again until he understands.   There is NOT more to this story.   

Here is the story:   A girl went to a party where she either voluntarily took drugs or was slipped drugs in her drink and she was gang-raped, on camera, and now it is impossible to control the spread of that video across cyberspace and it will never ever ever end for her.   Never.   

I wish it would.   I wish it could.   I hope it will.

But I'm scared that it won't.

I want to talk to this girl and tell her that she can take this and use it somehow to make herself stronger.   She can take this pain and turn it into titanium-strength and she can prevail.  And I don't know how she can but I want her to anyway.  I want her to become a superhero and rise above all this smirking.   

This girl, this sixteen-year-old girl, was raped.   Rape is a violent crime.   This girl was the victim of a violent crime.   Yes, allegedly.   Not yet been proven in a court of law.   Etc.  

But.   Still.   

The downloading of the video is also a crime.   Possession of child porn, which is what the police have to call it, is a crime.   

But the video is still spreading.   I want every single person who watches that video to go to jail.   I want the kid who held the camera to be 100% accountable.   I want justice for this sixteen year old girl so badly.

For every sixteen year old girl.   And twelve year old girl.   And seven year old girl.   For all the girls.   

And women.

For everyone.   For all of us.   For humanity.   

I went to write this blog post and I wanted to re-read the news story so I typed into Google the words "Pitt Meadows".  

Google suggested that what I was really looking for was "Pitt Meadows rape video."  

I wasn't.   I am not.   But how many people WERE that Google assumed that was going to be my next word?

I feel sick.   I am sick for the girl and what happened to her and I'm sick for the boys and for our society and for myself and for my daughter and for her future and for my son and for all the thousands or millions of people who think that rape is sex, sex is porn, and that video is titillating.    

Really, people, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

Rape is not PORN, Mr. Wesley Scroggins.   If you're wondering what I'm talking about, go read Laurie Halse Anderson's blog about how an associate professor at Missouri State University wants her book, SPEAK, banned because it's "pornographic" and therefore not suitable reading material for school-aged children.   

SPEAK is about rape.   

But to people like Mr. Scroggins, ignorant people, rape is sex.   Sex is porn.   Porn is titillating.   


Rape is not titillating, Mr. Scroggins.   It IS "filthy and immoral" but not in the way that you are suggesting.   You are WRONG.   And it is you, Mr. Scroggins, and people like you, who continue to perpetuate the myth that rape is sex.   And it is because of people like you that girls do not come forward and say what has happened to them because people like YOU make them feel like THEY are filthy and immoral and not like what they actually are, which is a victim of a horrific, violent crime.   

Books like SPEAK are voice in the wilderness to victims.   That is what they are.   And they are not titillating or pornographic, they are books about victims that help other victims and say again and again that rape is not OK and it is not the victim's FAULT and my GOD, Mr. Scroggins, when are you and your ilk going to stop blaming the victim and when are you going to STOP MAKING RAPE INTO SEX INTO PORN?

I am so angry.   I am so angry that this still goes on, that this conversation is even happening, that Mr. Wesley Scroggins thinks that GOD WANTS HIM TO STOP PEOPLE FROM READING THIS BOOK.    

How can anyone be this misguided?   

Here's what God probably wants:  He wants people to stop calling rape "sex".   


A few years ago, I wrote a book about a rape.   Or rather, not a book ABOUT a rape, but a book in which a rape occurred and the victim of the rape decided not to tell.  

I remember talking with my editor about this decision.   We worried about it together, about what it would say.  Would someone NOT TELL because my character decided not to tell?  Was the book in any way suggesting that my character was making the RIGHT choice?     

But at the end of the day, this particular character could only choose this thing, whether this was the right or wrong thing to do, because that is what was true for this character.   Fiction is not a guidebook, we were very clear.   I added pages of "Author Notes".   I did not want the message to be misunderstood.

Rape is a violent crime.   And it is always right to tell.

I received dozens of e-mails.   Mostly from kids wanting to know what to do.   What SHOULD they do?

So I told them.   

And I hope that my readers -- during the entire decision process of this character -- were saying, "TELL.   YOU HAVE TO TELL.   IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT."   Because that much was obvious.  

That's what I hope.  

It's all I can hope.  



It is never your fault.

I don't care if you go to school in a string bikini every day.

I don't care if you flirt with every single man/boy you meet.

I don't care if you know this person.   If you love this person.   If this person tricks you.   If you fall for it.   If you make a mistake.  If you make ten mistakes.   A thousand mistakes.  

I don't care if you put yourself into a bad situation.   If you are drunk.  If you take drugs.  If you say to yourself, after, "I should have known better."

I don't care.

It is still 





And yes, you should ALWAYS tell.  

And no, rape is not sex is not porn.   No matter what the Wesley Scroggins of the world would have you believe.   You are not filthy.   YOU are not immoral.  

It is a violent crime, and there should be no more to the story than that.